Living with a condition like IBD can raise a lot of questions. Our health expert, Lisa, answers questions from participants who completed the 8-week program about IBD, nutrition, and pain management. Check out these questions posted by the Nori Health community.
Your questions, answered
Here are answers to questions submitted by people just like you. This Nori Health community completed the 8-week program and gained access to bonuses including personal Q&A, guided meditation, and ebook.
Can I cure my IBD?
Currently, there isn’t a cure for IBD. But the disease will have periods when it gets worse and periods when it’s not active. Focusing on keeping inflammation lower and following your doctor’s advice (including taking prescribed meditations) can help reduce the number and length of remissions you have.
I’ve heard that I can get cancer easier. Is that true?
People who suffer from IBD have a slightly higher risk of developing certain cancers (risk usually begins about 8 years after diagnosis) but studies show that this varies a lot depending on each individual, the type of disease (higher risk in ulcerative colitis), and length of diagnosis.
A slightly reduced risk has been seen in patients with ulcerative colitis who are treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. You can also keep your risk as low as possible by focusing on healthy habits such as good nutrition and sleep. Talk to your doctor about getting screened early.
What supplements should I take?
Supplements have not been proven to lessen the disease, however, if your physician discovers that you’re deficient in certain nutrients, they may recommend that you take supplements in addition to what you regularly eat.
You may be able to get all the necessary nutrients from a well-balanced diet. But this depends on the severity of your condition, surgeries, and other complications. Common supplements that are recommended by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for IBD patients are: calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B12, zinc, and probiotics.
It’s very important to check with your doctor before taking these. Check the label and avoid supplements with preservatives, sugar alcohols, and lactose since this may increase symptoms.
How do I manage my pain?
It’s important to know that some alternative methods for pain management are not proven to be effective and some can be risky. It’s important to research them and discuss them with your physician before giving them a try.
One safe way to help manage pain is through mindfulness medication. This is a practice that welcomes you into the present moment. It may seem counterintuitive to check-in with your pain, but sometimes facing it can help slow down your breath and dissipate discomfort.
Learn more: Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Management
It can also be helpful to focus on anti-inflammatory nutrients (ginger, green tea, turmeric) while limiting the more inflammatory foods (processed meats, sugar, junk food).
If I feel good, do I have to keep taking my medication?
Always follow your doctor’s orders and check with them before making any changes to your medication. Even if you feel good, it’s important to continue taking your medicine. This is because if you stop taking some medications, your body may form antibodies against it, meaning that you could end up with allergic reactions to, or no benefit from, the medicine.
Fermented foods have helped me more than I can say. Why isn’t there more said about these things?
That’s great that fermented foods (kombucha, yogurt, kefir) have been helping you! If something helps and your doctor approves, by all means, stick to it.
Some studies suggest that gut microbiota (bacteria that naturally live there) play a role in triggering and worsening IBD. Probiotics have been suggested to help decrease IBD symptoms, but more research is needed to better understand the exact strains that have the greatest effects, the combination of prebiotics, and how well they stay in the gut.
Your health expert
Lisa Booth is a leading health expert and dietitian. She has coached IBD & IBS sufferers for over 10 years. She has worked for nutrition and mental health companies including Ginger.io and 8fit. She is currently the Co-Founder and Health Lead at Nori Health.
She understands the many challenges of living with a chronic disease and helps patients discover habit changes that promote an optimal quality of life.
Have another question?
This Q&A session is offered to participants who complete the last conversation in the Nori Health program.
If you have general questions about Nori Health and IBD, feel free to email: firstname.lastname@example.org.